beautiful bytes – The future for Facebook
Tomorrow is a big day for Facebook, coined ‘its most important launch ever’ on tech site SAI. After slowly rolling out new features over the past couple of weeks, it is launching a range of products at F8 in San Francisco tomorrow.
Facebook has launched a subscribe button, which is just like a Twitter follow button. You can see the public updates posted by people to which subscribe, but interaction is limited. It won’t change anything on your charity page but has the potential to be a great networking tool. You can follow the interesting updates of people you’ve met at events without openly sharing the pictures of you hitting the dance floor at your cousins wedding. It’s much less of an intrusion to follow someone than friend them.
Facebook is also rolling out the ability to send your status updates to Twitter. In the past this was restricted to Pages, but now will be for everyone and is said to be the start of a deeper integration between the two. However, we mentioned last week, this may not be a great way to push out social media messages.
There is a lot of interest around Facebook’s future product launches. There are talks of a music service with some big names involved, movie and TV sharing and a new photo-sharing app among many new mobile apps.
Two things that caught our attention from a charity perspective were the expansion of Facebook Credits and the inclusion of content from big publishers.
Facebook Credits have been limited to in-game purchases. After tomorrow’s launch, it is set to launch a content store like Apple’s iTunes. We’re always interested in new payment methods (especially in new media) and think it would be brilliant if Facebook beat Apple to creating a mobile donation app!
Forbes reported back in July that Facebook is getting into the news business. The company is working with news outlets to create special editions that can be read entirely within Facebook. This could expand the ways in which you have the opportunity to have your cause reported on and how people will read it. Facebook is using the unofficial tagline “Read, watch, listen”.
This is an important time for Facebook, it is at the peak of usership and has one trillion page views per month. Launching so many products gives those users more of a choice than they’ve had, it will be pushing hard to migrate them from other media they use, but if they succeed it could have huge implications for the way we consume new media. Keep an eye out!
The value of social share buttons
More seemingly common sensical research results were released this week. It has been revealed that websites with Twitter and Facebook plugins are shared more than websites that don’t have social buttons.
However, what was interesting about the report was how much difference the easy to install features make. The study of 10,000 websites found that, on average, a website without a Twitter or Facebook share button was mentioned four times, while a site with the plugins was mentioned 27 times.
Obviously the first step is creating engaging and valuble content, but simplifying the sharing process for readers goes a long way in getting them to send it to their social networks.
In the coming weeks you will be able to see exactly how effective your tweet buttons are, along with how much your website content is being shared on Twitter and the exact amount of traffic that Twitter sends to your site.
Twitter Developers are about to release Twitter Web Analytics. Whilst you can currently find some of this information using Google Analytics, this new service promises to be a lot more detailed about which tweets are effective at getting supporters to click over any period of time. Like any media, Twitter should be used to meet an objective and whilst it’s hard to measure engagement statistically, it will show you how much people are acting on your content. It will also be a great way to justify the amount of time that you invest in Twitter and indicate if and how you’re hitting your targets.
It will be rolled out this week to a small pilot group of partners and will be available to website owners within the next few weeks.
And finally …
We have reported on many fundraising crowdsourcing startups in our bytes, but this week we read about one of the first to come to the UK. It’s not the first site to aggregate causes to help, but this one is unique in its specificity. You don’t just donate to a charity, you donate to a project and, in Groupon style, you only have a certain amount of time to do it. Soloco gives local projects 60 days to crowdsource donations and examples so far have included a youth centre and a wall for a garden. It takes 9.5% of funds raised.
One of the main reasons people give is an emotional tie to the subject, through an inspiring campaign or a personal connection. I’m not sure how many people will find themselves on its site, wishing to pour money into a community project but with no idea where and how they want to make a difference. Of course there are philanthropic people, but such people are likely to have developed their own ideas about charities they like and support in their local community before they have the instinct to give. Signposts to the site, as with any donation, will be essential to its success.